June 20, 2019
December 14, 2017
What once housed hundreds of baseball fans will now house thousands of students as Sundt breaks ground on a new 365,000-square-foot student housing complex. The $150 million Hornet Commons Complex will consist of six four-story buildings with a total of 284 apartments, a swimming pool, café, fitness center and community room.
The ceremonial groundbreaking earlier this month marked the start of Sundt’s second project on the Sacramento State campus, with the Ernest E. Tschannen Science Complex finishing up within the next month. “We’re honored to be a part of this incredible project,” said Jim Larrieu, Vice President and Northern California Regional Director. “Our team is looking forward to creating a new and exciting place for students to relax and enjoy life on campus.”
This is not just another project for Sacramento State; it has been in the works for many years. Alexander Gonzalez, Sacramento State’s president for 11 years before retiring in 2015, always had a vision of turning the Dan McAuliffe Memorial Ballparks into a place to house students. Watching from the crowd as Sundt broke ground, he saw his vision come to life.
“The long-awaited Student Housing Project is transformative for the Sacramento State student community, and Sundt is thrilled to be part of the team making that happen,” said Teri Jones, Building Group President.
Sundt Preconstruction Manager Dave Downey, Sr. Project Manager Sean Falvey, Building Group President Teri Jones, Sacramento State Mascot Herky, Sundt Project Executive Mike Mielcarek, Sundt CEO Mike Hoover, and Sr. Project Superintendent Rob Petrakovitz
Sacramento State President Robert Nelsen and crowd put their “stingers up.”
Sean Falvey, project manager for the new housing development and for the Science Complex project, shared his thoughts on starting a second project on campus.
With the Ernest E. Tschannen Science Complex finishing soon, what about that project do you think made us the builder of choice for Hornet Commons?
We are able to think outside the box when we faced with challenges. We started off on the right foot with the preconstruction phase: our precon team was able to deliver more than the campus’s RFP requirements and really give them more for their budget. Secondly, we proved that we were not only a good contractor, but an innovative one. When we had to dig a trench that would stretch in front of the campus bookstore and impede foot traffic, our team came up with a unique solution: build a “drawbridge” to keep students and pedestrians safe while walking in and out of the bookstore. Our client appreciated us going beyond what was expected of us and keeping the students’ safety and campus operations in mind during construction.
Were there any lessons learned from the Science Complex that the team can apply to the housing project?
On the Science Complex, the state fire marshal required significant changes during construction due to the many rating conditions (wall terminations, pipe penetrations, etc.). On the housing project, we’ll be constructing a mockup to demonstrate all our typical conditions, which will give us the opportunity to head off any concerns and avoid scheduling conflicts.
With over 30,000 students, many of them commuters, the campus is very sensitive to traffic disturbances. Going into housing, we are paying close attention to how our work may impact traffic and have already accounted for “summer work.” The purpose of the new housing development is to, hopefully, eliminate the amount of travel students currently face.
The Science Complex is an incredible building with 27 teaching labs, research labs, a planetarium, and an observatory; will there be any similarities with the housing complex?
The two buildings will be like night and day: not only is the building type different (wood vs. steel), but the client and delivery method are different as well. Even though they will be different structurally, the end goal is the same: to enrich the campus community with better facilities. The CSU students are the ones who will truly benefit from each of these projects.
June 9, 2017
Vache Garabedian (center) was recruited by Michael Morales (right) to become a Sundt Intern.
It’s never too early to start laying a foundation for a construction career. For Sundt Intern Vache Garabedian, his preparations went into high gear as soon as he arrived at Cal Poly Pomona.
“I knew I wanted to be as involved as possible with student organizations and clubs,” Vache said.
Vache joined the Construction Engineering Management Association (CEMA) and Cal Poly Pomona’s Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) Student Chapter. CEMA is a student-run organization celebrating its 45th anniversary at Pomona. Serving construction/civil engineering students and industry partners, CEMA facilitates networking and professional opportunities between students and industry partners.
Vache has worked in leadership capacities for both organizations. He was a founding member of the DBIA group and is CEMA’s President.
“Being involved has helped me tremendously in my personal and professional growth,” he said. “It has taught me invaluable skills that will aid my professional career such as time management, collaboration, leadership and mentoring. It has also reinforced one of my core personal values of giving back to others.”
It was through CEMA that Vache learned about Sundt and the many opportunities at our company. He met Talent Acquisition and University Relations Specialist Michael Morales at a CEMA luncheon the company sponsored. Shortly after interviewing with Michael, Vache accepted an internship offer for the summer of 2016.
“A few days into my internship, I knew I wanted to return to Sundt for not only a second internship, but as an employee-owner after graduation,” Vache said.
Fortunately for Vache, we have a student housing project under way at Cal Poly Pomona. He worked there this past summer and has stayed on through the school year. Vache’s knowledge and enthusiasm inspired Project Manager Dominic Daughtrey to encourage him to pursue his Commercial Drone Pilot’s License, which he did this past July. As a result, Vache is running the drone program on the project.
“I’ve been able to supplement my academic knowledge with real-world experience and have helped solve problems that arise on job sites daily,” Vache said.
Student organizations and in-the-field work have combined to put Vache on track to get hired when he graduates. It would fulfill a lifetime dream.
“I’m a builder at heart and love the field,” he said. “My fondest memories of childhood include watching ‘Home Again with Bob Vila’ on Saturday mornings instead of cartoons and riding my bicycle to a nearby high-rise construction project and watching in sheer amazement day after day, week after week as that building was constructed. I aspire to be running large projects at Sundt.”
For more information about a career with Sundt, please visit http://www.sundt.com/careers. Click here for more information on internships.
May 24, 2017
Virtual Construction Engineer Frank Garcia is one of our employee-owners who are licensed to fly drones for commercial purposes.
Sundt Virtual Construction Engineer Frank Garcia is one of our company’s first employee-owners to earn his commercial license for drone operations. Using drones at job sites enables us to provide better client value by more efficiently capturing project information.
Frank is putting his drone skills to use on a student housing project at Cal Poly Pomona this month.
How important are drones to the construction industry?
Drones are another tool we can use to solve challenges. While we are figuring out new uses for this technology all the time, every tool has its use. Drones, robotics and technology in general are changing the way we build and think about construction.
In what ways is Sundt using drones to provide client value?
The drones allow us to produce some of the same things we are doing now, just more efficiently. One example is the use of “photogrammetry,” where we take a variety of pictures with the drone from different angles and put them together to generate 3D models. So for a 3D site logistics plan, we can fly the drone and generate 3D models of the surrounding buildings, existing conditions, calculate the grade of the site, etc.
Why is it important for us to operate drones instead of having a vendor do it?
While flying drones is fun, we are flying them for a purpose. We are collecting data that allows us to produce a variety of deliverables. When we fly ourselves, we know what data is critical to capture in the development of our deliverables. There is nothing wrong with using a vendor to operate the drone. We just need to make sure the data we are receiving is viable for our intended use.
How hard are they to fly?
As with anything, there is a bit of a learning curve. Once you get over that it’s fairly easy, depending on the type of weather you are flying in. Some of the drones practically fly themselves. I recommend everyone give it a try; I find it to be really fun. The real challenge is in the preflight work. If you are flying for commercial use (not just for fun) you have to be aware of the airspace you are flying in and, in some cases, need to get Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) clearance. You need to be aware of the type of weather you are flying in as it can affect flight characteristics. Really, you are getting your ducks in a row to fly safely.
What was involved in becoming licensed to operate drones?
Studying! The main hurdle to get over in earning your drone license is passing the FAA written test. The test covers basic drone flight operations, loading and performance, laws and regulations, etc. What I found to be slightly challenging were the questions related to interpreting National Airspace System information (airspace maps), and weather and micrometeorology.
What do you need to do to remain licensed?
I need to pass an aeronautical knowledge test every 24 months.
September 16, 2016
Sundt is building a 158,000-square-foot student housing development at the University of the Pacific.
An expanding population in California has made new student housing a necessity, prompting university systems to find innovative ways to build projects.
One solution gaining traction is Public-Private Partnerships (P3). A P3 is a long-term contract between a public-sector client and a private company or consortium covering the design, construction, maintenance and sometimes financing of a facility, such as our $25.8 million project constructing student housing at the University of the Pacific in Stockton. The project is a partnership between the university and Capstone Development Partners. In this case, the university is providing the financing.
Capstone, a Birmingham, Alabama company, has produced student housing for more than 25 years.
“The university systems in California are embracing the P3 model of project delivery to enable them to meet the housing demand of the student population,” said Sundt Senior Vice President and Building Group Manager Teri Jones. “This new approach will be good for the university systems, their students and the building industry.”
P3s are being used across California, including transportation and public works projects.
“P3s offer several different types of contract options for public entities with a wide range of risk allocations, funding arrangements and transparency requirements not available in traditional delivery methods,” said Sundt Project Manager Steven Bonicatto. “This approach offers useful tools for governments or private entities to achieve their objectives.”
Our team broke ground on the project last August. The new 158,000-square-foot development includes two new four-story buildings consisting of 142 studio, two-bedroom and four-bedroom units that will provide a 381-bed residential community. When complete early next year, the project will transition the approximately four-acre project site into student apartments including more than 15,000 square feet of indoor/outdoor amenities featuring social and study areas and other site improvements.
In her job as Project Executive for Sundt in our Irvine, California office, Betty Lynn Senes leads project pursuits, provides oversight of the design and construction process and ensures that teams have the resources they need to meet the daily demands of the project, achieve interim milestones and successfully complete their work.
With 28 years in the construction industry, Betty Lynn brings a diverse skill set in collaborative deliveries, team-building and problem-solving. As a past Vice President of Operations and former Project Director, Project Manager, Estimator and Business Developer, she understands the critical combination of technical competency and relationship skills that drive reliable commitments and outstanding performance.
Betty Lynn took some time to answer a few questions not long after starting with Sundt.
What interested you about working for Sundt?
The firm I came from and Sundt have both worked in the California State University System. I keep in touch with a few folks in the CSU Chancellor’s office, and they always spoke highly of (Regional Director) Robert Stokes and of Sundt. I also had interaction on some Cal Poly Pomona projects. Sundt was awarded the student housing project there, and a second, adjacent project came up. Sundt was not proposing and my firm was. As we’d be sharing a “party wall” and joint laydown area, I asked Robert and (Project Manager) Mary Homan to meet with us to discuss how we’d be good neighbors. They did and I was impressed with their approach to their student housing project. We also did a joint Building Information Modeling/Virtual Design and Construction program for the Chancellor’s Office with Sundt, during which time I got a chance to see (Senior Virtual Construction Engineer) Howdy Atkinson and (Director of Construction Technology) Dan Russell in their element … impressive. The other factors were Sundt’s commitment to continual learning, and the fact that I had met women from Sundt, such as (Senior Vice President and Building Group Manager) Teri Jones and Mary Homan, who were clearly making a difference in our industry.
What are the company’s priorities in Southern California?
We are very fortunate to have built many higher-education construction projects, both public and private, in Southern California. Our newly expanded Los Angeles/Orange County office is poised to grow, and expand our markets with the experience of our people. Our priorities are to be very focused in our pursuits, to take on profitable work with good owners and to exceed their expectations. With this, we’ll expand Sundt’s great name throughout LA/OC. We hope to build the same reputation in our area that Sundt has earned in Arizona: a quality firm built by trustworthy, competent people who excel in their field.
What does Sundt do to set itself apart from the competition in the Los Angeles area?
Sundt has a reputation for top-quality people working collaboratively and keeping our commitments. These factors, along with the consistent, positive experience of working with Sundt, and the tools that enhance our ability to communicate and manage, such as our conditions of success meetings and parametric estimating, are elements that set us apart.
How does the future look for success in the region?
The Southern California market is still very active. We see a number of schools and community college districts with successful bond measures that provide funding for facilities projects. The California State University and University of California systems are planning work for the future, and private institutions continue their expansion plans. The UC system has an initiative under way to expand student housing on multiple campuses. In addition, many other civic, healthcare and hospitality clients have projects in the pipeline.
The company has had a lot of success with the university housing market in Southern California. What projects do we have going on there at the moment?
We are working on four student housing projects in Southern California: one at San Diego State University, one just completing at CSU Channel Islands, one at Pepperdine University, and our fourth, in preconstruction, at Cal Poly Pomona (CPP). All are being delivered collaboratively, under CM at Risk or Design-Build. The largest one, at CPP, has grown to about $150 million. It includes a 35,000-square-foot dining commons and two eight-story student residence towers to house 980 students. Student housing is a very active market.
How exciting is it to come to work every day in such a dynamic area?
Knowing the potential we have to expand our client and subcontractor relationships, and after meeting so many professional and talented Sundt employee-owners, I’m “all in.” I look forward to contributing by developing great client partners and relentlessly executing our plan to exceed their expectations.